Heavy rigids lead improvements in fatal truck crashes

Articulate trucks relinquish lead in reductions, first quarter stats show

Heavy rigids lead improvements in fatal truck crashes
The January-March 2020 graph with trend lines


After years of resisting the falling trend in heavy vehicle fatal crashes and fatalities, heavy rigids have made a solid and all too welcome reversal in the past two years.

Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) figure for the first quarter of this year reflect the sort of divergence heavy articulated trucks previously led, the latter now trending slightly upward.

Since the June 2019 quarter, heavy rigids quarterly fatalities have fallen from 31 to 10.

And on a 12-months-to-March basis from 2018, fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks fell from 85 85 to 54 and deaths in those crashes fell from 93 to 58.

Much of the reduction has occurred in New South Wales, which, since 2019, has recorded three quarters in double figures – 12, 14 and 11 – in the past three years. No other state made double figures, though Victoria did record nine in June quarter of 2019.

In March 2021, the counts were four deaths in NSW and one in Victoria.

See how things looked in the March quarter of last year, here

Articulated trucksfail to add a third after two years of lower figures, with fatalities jumping back into three figures, 106, after consecutive years on 94, and fatal crashes at 89 after two years on 85 each.

On a state basis, a recent quarterly rise in Queensland stands out, with the December quarter on 14 and March quarter on 12, up from nine and seven in the previous two. No other state was in double figures, nor has been in the past three years bar NSW’s June 2020 quarter of 11.

The sad but hopeful bottom line is that, during the 12 months to the end of March 2021, 162 people died in crashes involving heavy trucks.

These included 106 deaths in crashes involving articulated trucks and 58 deaths in crashes involving heavy rigid trucks.

All that said, the total of 162 deaths is the lowest than at any time since the decade peak in March 2013 of 226.


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